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National business publication Fortune magazine is saluting several Dallas-Fort Worth employers, starting with one of the most well-known.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines ranks 28th on Fortunes 2022 list of the world’s most admired companies; it's the highest-ranked local company on the list. Also included on the list are:

  • Westlake-based Charles Schwab, at No. 47.
  • Dallas-based AECOM, at No. 55.
  • Dallas-based AT&T, at No. 77.
  • Dallas-based CBRE Group, at No. 103.
  • Arlington-based D.R. Horton, at No. 168.
  • Dallas-based Jacobs Engineering Group, at No. 179.
  • Irving-based McKesson, at No. 214.

The ranking is based on the magazine’s poll of about 3,700 corporate executives, corporate directors, and business analysts.

Southwest has landed consistently on the World's Most Admired Companies list since 2009, a press release from the company points out.

"What a wonderful tribute to the People of Southwest Airlines to be recognized with this prestigious honor, and especially in the midst of the challenges brought on by a global pandemic," says Southwest CEO Bob Jordan in the release. "These past 23 months have been the most challenging time in our Company's history, but our people are the difference — they put their heart into our business, our communities, and serving our customers and it shows."

San Antonio financial services provider USAA ranks 25th, making it the No. 1 Texas-based company on the list. Overall, 18 companies from the Lone Star State appear on Fortune’s new list.

The others are:

  • Houston-based ConocoPhillips, No. 117.
  • Round Rock-based Dell Technologies, No. 125.
  • Houston-based EOG Resources, No. 140.
  • Spring-based Hewlett Packard Enterprise, No. 164.
  • Houston-based KBR, No. 186.
  • Houston-based Occidental Petroleum, No. 237.
  • Houston-based Quanta Services, No. 253.
  • Austin-based Tesla, No. 294.
  • Houston-based Waste Management, No. 318.

Fortune's top three companies are Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft.

"Just as it dominates our economy, Big Tech now dominates Fortune’s annual ranking of corporate reputation," the magazine says.

Photo courtesy of Mardi Gras! Galveston

Texas' biggest Mardi Gras celebration makes big beaded return for 2022

Texas getaways

A winter COVID surge is not preventing the good times from rolling right on into Galveston. One of the biggest beaded bashes on the Texas coast is back: Galveston Island’s 111th Mardi Gras celebration will return to the Historic Galveston Strand District from February 18 through March 1, 2022.

Known throughout Texas as Mardi Gras! Galveston, the third largest Mardi Gras celebration in the United States is expected to draw more than 350,000 attendees for two weekends of live concerts, parades, balcony parties, elegant balls, and new festive additions.

The annual event was canceled in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of press time, it's still on for 2022.

Musical headliners for the festival’s concert lineup include platinum-selling rock band 3 Doors Down; country artist Matt Stell; and noted Tejano group Siggno, which will star at Mardi Gras! Galveston’s annual celebration of Hispanic Heritage (Sunday, February 20, 2022).

Tickets (starting at $11.50) are now on sale online for general weekend admission and balcony access.

A portion of the festival’s proceeds will benefit charitable causes such as The Sunshine Kids, Shriners Hospital for Children, Galveston Education Foundation, Texas A&M Maritime Academy, and local firefighters.

In consideration for the environment, this year, festival organizer Yaga’s Entertainment has launched “Beads for Needs.” The bead recycling program aims to remove Mardi Gras beads out of the trash while giving students from Ball High School’s Life Skills Program the opportunity to build a business from the ground up and become self-sufficient.

Meanwhile, submissions are open for the SC Inman Mardi Gras! Galveston 2022 Official Poster Contest. The poster contest is an annual artistic competition open to any US citizen 16 years or older. Contestants are asked to submit an official Mardi Gras! Galveston poster design.

The winning poster will be reproduced as a commemorative poster to be released as part of Mardi Gras! Galveston 2022; the winning artist will receive a $1,000 award. Submissions will be accepted until January 13.

For more information, visit the official Mardi Gras! Galveston site.

It's time to bead it, y'all.

Photo courtesy of Mardi Gras! Galveston
It's time to bead it, y'all.
Getty Images/Courtney K

Fort Worth unlocks a top spot for U.S. homebuyers under 35, study says

Foundation for the future

More and more young professionals in Fort Worth are giving up apartment life and settling down in a home of their own, a new survey shows.

A study released January 14 by personal finance website SmartAsset ranked the top 50 U.S. cities where homebuyers under age 35 are most commonplace. Just three DFW cities made it into the top 50. Fort Worth was one of them, landing at No. 36.

To develop the list, SmartAsset looked at the 2019 homeownership rate for those under 35 in 200 of the country’s largest cities and the 10-year change in the homeownership rate for those under 35.

The Dallas suburb of Mesquite ranked fourth in the study, and Mesquite's neighbor Garland came in 17th. To break things down in the top DFW cities:

  • In 2019, the homeownership rate among Mesquite residents younger than 35 was 45.46 percent. That ranks 11th in the study. But in 2009, the rate was just 35.47 percent, meaning the 10-year increase was 9.99 percentage points, earning a third-place ranking for this metric and fourth overall.
  • The under-35 rate for homeownership rate in Garland stood at 37.11 percent in 2019, up 0.59 percentage points from 36.52 percent in 2009.
  • Fort Worth's under-35 homeownership rate actually fell 3.28 percentage points, going from 40.52 percent in 2009 to 37.24 percent. Nonetheless, it still earned a spot in the top 50.

Perhaps surprisingly, Texas' own Midland earned the No. 1 spot (followed by Cape Coral, Florida and Joliet, Illinois.)

"Midland, Texas has seen a 10-year increase of 17.11 percentage points in the homeownership rate among people younger than 35, the largest growth seen in this study," the authors say.

Other Texas cities in SmartAsset’s top 50 are Corpus Christi (tied at No. 27), Brownsville (No. 44), and Amarillo (No. 50).

Although the study doesn't point out the many desirable qualities that make Fort Worth appealing to young homebuyers, the authors would surely echo the most recent Niche.com assessment that, "living in Fort Worth offers residents a dense suburban feel and most residents own their homes. In Fort Worth there are a lot of parks. Many families and young professionals live in Fort Worth and residents tend to lean liberal."

(Okay, those last few words might be debatable depending on your definition of "liberal" — and your neighborhood.)

A 2020 study from the National Association of Realtors found that 52 percent of buyers 30 to 39 and 88 percent of buyers 29 and younger were first-time homebuyers. Among all homebuyers, the study showed fewer than 1 percent were 21 and younger, 13 percent were 22 to 29, and 25 percent were 30 to 39. People 30 to 39 made up the biggest age group among buyers.

“As people age into retirement, they rely more heavily on their wealth rather than their income to support their lifestyles. Today’s young adults are failing to build housing wealth, the largest single source of wealth, at the same rate as previous generations,” the Urban Institute noted in a 2018 study. “While people make the choice to own or rent that suits them at a given point, maybe more young adults should take into account the long-term consequences of renting when homeownership is an option.”

Photo courtesy of WeWork

Texas punches in as one of the hardest-working states in U.S., says study

Laboring every day

Hey, Texas. Kick up your feet and give yourselves a pat on the back. You deserve it. The Lone Star State has been named one of the hardest-working states in the country.

In a study released August 31 just ahead of Labor Day, personal finance website WalletHub ranks Texas fourth on its list of the hardest-working states, behind North Dakota at No. 1, Alaska at No. 2, and Wyoming at No. 3. In last place: West Virginia.

Texas held the No. 4 spot in WalletHub’s 2019 rankings, too.

For the study, WalletHub compares the 50 states across 10 key indicators. Those factors include average hours worked per week, share of workers with more than one job, and volunteer hours logged per person. Texas clocks in at No. 4 this year for the highest average number of hours put in during the workweek — its best ranking among the 10 key indicators.

The study of hardest-working states comes as a new WalletHub survey shows about one-third of Americans are worried about job security.

“Women are less likely than men to be concerned about job security, even though recent data shows that women are losing their jobs at a greater rate than men during the COVID-19 pandemic,” WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez says.

The survey also finds that about half of Americans say they’ve worked harder since the coronavirus pandemic began.

“Middle-class Americans were the most likely to say they have worked harder, followed by high-income and then low-income Americans,” Gonzalez says.

Photo by Maskot/Getty

How much salary Texans would willingly forfeit to continue working from home

Work Perks

For some, working from home is starting to look like the new normal. But whether your office is gearing up for reopening or you're looking at taking calls from your couch for the foreseeable future, one thing is for sure: Texans love that WFH life.

Finance website RealBusinessSavings.com recently surveyed 3,500 American employees to evaluate their attitudes about offices in the current circumstances, and the results showed an overwhelming preference for our makeshift home desks.

The average American employee would take a $316 pay cut per month in order to continue working from home after lockdown, with Texans specifically willing to give up $278 each month to avoid going back to their place of work.

Nationally, 57 percent of employees say they will request to continue working from home to avoid contracting coronavirus in the workplace. One in 10 are happy to be far away from office politics, and two in three say they have been more productive working from home.

When it comes to reasons people prefer to continue working from home, 30 percent of employees say saving money on transportation is the best thing, followed by no daily commute (28 percent). An additional 22 percent say the best part is saving money on lunch and afterwork drinks, while 8 percent said their favorite part is not having to wear business attire (hooray for yoga pants!).

Broken down across the country, it appears Californians are most keen on keeping their WFH routines after lockdown, as the average employee there would forfeit $495 of their salary in order to continue to do so. Comparatively, Hawaii employees are ready to go back to the office, with the average respondent there forfeiting only $71 of their salary each month in order to continue working from home.

And if we ever do return en masse to the boardroom, it seems the days of high-fives and handshakes with your coworkers are over. Results say that 75 percent of employees do not think handshakes will ever return to the work environment, and in their place should be the elbow tap (65 percent), a simple nod (28 percent), the balance-testing foot tap (5 percent), and the formal bow (a mere 2 percent).

Perhaps most telling is this result: One in three workers say that since WFH began, they have felt their bosses have been friendlier and with a more relaxed attitude toward employees. Long live the Zoom meetings!

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Giant sea creatures made of recycled beach trash wash onto Galveston Island in must-see new exhibit

inspiring sea change

A giant great white shark, massive bald eagle, oversized octopus, and more enormous sea life have invaded Galveston Island.

"Washed Ashore," a compelling traveling art exhibit of giant sea animal sculptures made of trash collected from beaches, is now on display across 19 locations in Galveston.

The clever showcase features more than 20 pieces — most more than six feet tall and as much as 17 feet wide — such as coral reefs, jellyfish, penguins, sunfish, and more.

Sculptures can be found at museums, hotels, parks, attractions, and popular outdoor spaces. Thanks to a partnership between Oregon-based non-profit Washed Ashore and the Galveston Park Board, the exhibit, which is open though March 5, is free.

This innovative, powerful exhibit is designed to educate the public about the hazards of plastic pollution in the world’s waterways and comes at a touchstone environmental moment. Some 35 million metric tons of plastic entered the global aquatic ecosystems in 2020, according to the Ocean Conservancy’s research partners.

Similar "Washed Ashore" exhibits have been displayed at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, as well as zoos, aquariums, and botanical gardens across the nation. Notably, this Galveston debut marks the first time the exhibit will not be behind a paid gate, per press materials.

“The sculptures are impressive,” Visit Galveston Chief Tourism Officer Michael Woody says. “But they’re even more impressive when you look at them closely. The artists at Washed Ashore placed recognizable objects – like buckets and shovels – at a child’s eye view. This way, hopefully, they will learn to take with them what they bring to the beach.”

For more information on the exhibit, visit the official site.

Photo courtesy of Visit Galveston

Meet Greta the great white shark.

These are the 5 best food and drink events in Fort Worth this week

This week in gluttony

It’s a frigid start to February this week, but tasty events bring opportunities to warm up once the coldest weather passes. Get cozy with hand-made pasta and wine, a dim sum cooking class, two new Sunday brunch launches, and a complimentary educational class to watch online from the warmth of your own home.

Thursday, February 2

An Evening with Batasiolo Wine Dinner
Only 11 lucky individuals get to partake in this four-course dinner set to take place in il Modo’s intimate pasta-making room. Wines from Beni Di Batasiolo Winery will be paired with each course. Reservations are $199, plus tax and gratuity, and include valet parking. Dinner begins at 6 pm.

Saturday, February 4

Who Eats Cornbread? Who Eats Biscuits? Baking and Texas Identity Webinar by the TCU Center for Texas Studies
Curl up at home with hot biscuits or cornbread while watching this tasty and educational webinar led by Rebecca Sharpless, professor of history at TCU. She’ll talk through the history of baking in Texas and the American South, speaking from research conducted for her latest book, Grain and Fire. Learn who used white cornmeal, who used yellow, who used sugar, who didn’t, flour to fat ratios, and why it all matters. The free webinar begins at 10:30 am.

Jazz Brunch Launch at The Fitzgerald
The Camp Bowie Boulevard restaurant will channel New Orleans vibes with the launch of its new jazz brunch. The live jazz pianist will provide tunes on Fitzgerald’s heated patio both Saturday and Sundays from 11 am-2 pm. Plan for brunch dishes like crab cake Benedict, shrimp and grits, crawfish omelets, and bananas Foster banana pudding.

Dim Sum Time at Indulge Cooking Studio
The downtown cooking studio located inside Third Street Market hosts an array of classes regularly. This one will feature dim sum, the traditional Chinese meal made up of small plates featuring various dumplings and snacks. The menu will include chicken shumai, Chinese greens, spring rolls, and an egg custard tart. The class is $89 and will begin at 11 am.

Sunday, February 5

New Sunday Brunch at Craft & Vine
The Roanoke restaurant, wine bar, and craft cocktail lounge will launch Sunday brunch with new buffet-style stations. Enjoy eggs Benedict, a carving station, waffle bar, and more, as well as champagne flights, a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar, and even a bar cart for crafting Old Fashioneds. The price is $39 per person and $15 for kids 12 and under. Brunch service begins at 10 am and the live music starts at 11 am.

Luke Bryan trucks to Dallas-Fort Worth for 2 tour stops, including Dickies Arena

Country on

Luke Bryan fans, clear your calendars in late September 2023. The five-time Entertainer of the Year and American Idol judge is making not one but two stops in North Texas on his "Country On Tour."

He'll play Dallas' Dos Equis Pavilion on September 28, then scoot over to Fort Worth for a show at Dickies Arena on September 29. The only other Texas stop on his 36-city tour will be in Lubbock, on July 27. (So sorry, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio.)

Special guests throughout the tour will include up-and-coming country artists Chayce Beckham, Tyler Braden, Ashley Cooke, Jackson Dean, Jon Langston, Conner Smith, Alana Springsteen, Hailey Whitters, and DJ Rock.

According to the tour site, Beckham, Dean, Whitters, and DJ Rock will play the Dallas-Fort Worth shows.

Bryan has a history of investing in new artists by inviting them to join him on tour, a press release reminds.

“Artists get into the business to make music and perform it for the fans,” Bryan says in the release. “Leaving it all out on that stage is what it’s all about for me. I’m excited to support and have so many talented new artists along for the ride this year. It’s one of the most rewarding parts of our job.

The tour is named for Bryan's 30th No. 1 single, “Country On” - a celebration of farmers, truckers, military, first responders, and all of Americana that hit the top of the country singles charts around Christmas 2022. He has amassed a career tally of 56 total weeks at #1.

Bryan launches his 2023 headline dates at Resorts World Theatre in Las Vegas on February 1. He's also returning as a judge on ABC's American Idol this spring.

Bryan's "Country On Tour" kicks off June 15 in Syracuse, New York.

Tickets go on sale on at 10 am Friday, February 3 at Lukebryan.com.

Presale for Bryan's fan club members will run 8 am Tuesday, January 31 through 5 pm Thursday, February 2. For details, go HERE.

Citi cardmembers will have access to presale tickets from 10 am Wednesday, February 1 to 10 pm Thursday, Feb 2 through the Citi Entertainment program. For complete presale details visit www.citientertainment.com.